“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.” — Orwell,
“… if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”– ibid.
Our language has been having rocks thrown in its gearbox for close to a century now. First, from the Critical Theory1 fucknuts that sprang up in the decadent nightclub culture of the rapidly failing Weimar Republic in the interlude between the two World Wars. One would assume it was a schizoid hyper-reaction to try and come to terms with, and explain, the brutish idiocy of the Nazis they were allowing to waltz in and seize society in a totalitarian death-grip with barely a murmur of protest.
From there, Critical Theory has spawned relentless waves of splinter schools and – much like the sectarian fragmentation in islam, each being loopier than the last – culminating in today’s environment and its plague of mindless Social Justice Warrior ideological commissars. All have continued with the original Critical Theorists’ tradition of poisoning our language with garbage terminology and jargon – essentially creating their own dialect impenetrable to outsiders2 (or more appropriately, unbelievers). This kind of nonsense always struck me is unbelievably juvenile – almost like spotty teenagers inventing their own language as a form of code to obfuscate meaning from any grown up ears that may be eavesdropping.
Of course Critical Theory is not alone in these kinds of linguistic atrocities – other prime culprits are the worlds of business management and politics. John Ralston Saul nails these language crimes with his characteristic lucidity –
“Simplicity is no longer presented as a virtue. The value of complex and difficult language has been preached with such insistence that the public has begun to believe the lack of clarity must be a sign of artistic talent.”
But Critical Theory, particularly with its identity obsessed mutant offspring, is without a doubt King of the Hill as far as toxic, incomprehensible gibberish goes. You just need to look at [trigger warning: hyperventilating dumbness] mainstream media to see exactly how deeply the rot has spread.
To put it bluntly and concisely – the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
Towards the close of the last millennium, a new toxin was injected into our vernacular without too many people noticing, at least at first. I say “injected” because, unlike useful language which grows organically, it was an artificial construct, without any historical etymology, and it was engineered for a specific purpose.
That toxin was islamophobia.
The chefs that cooked up this poison up are the UK’s publicly funded Runnymede Trust3 (who the cesspit of lies classifies as “a left-wing think tank”). In its own words, Runnymede is –
Runnymede is the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank. We generate intelligence for a multi-ethnic Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement.
Our authoritative research-based interventions in social policy and practice, and our public engagement with decision makers, will assist policy-makers, practitioners, and citizens, to reduce the risk of our society being blighted by racism and discrimination to the detriment of us all.
Keyword here is “interventions”. Contrast this with Pew Research –
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. We conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. We do not take policy positions.
Runnymede do not simply do social research, they are also up to their eyeballs in the lobbying industry. They actively seek to
manipulate influence public opinion and policy and make no secret of it.
In 1996, Runnymede were commissioned to produce a report on the status of muslims in British multiculturalism. They created a panel with the lofty title of The Runnymede Trust Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia and in 1997 published Islamophobia – A Challenge For Us All [PDF scan, 21mb]. Right from the outset, Runnymede began disclaiming that pushing the term islamophobia was at the core of its agenda, instead insisting the term was already in common use. From the foreword by Gordon Conway –
We were pleased, and somewhat surprised, by the widespread media coverage of our consultation paper Islamophobia – its features and dangers, published in March 1997. Television and radio reported and commented on the document and there were numerous articles in the national and local press, and in Muslim, Jewish and Christian papers. The coverage and the numerous letters which we received were overwhelmingly positive. It was clear that we were tackling a set of issues which are of great concern to politicians, to religious and community leaders and to the general public.
We did not coin the term Islamophobia. It was already in use among sections of the Muslim community as a term describing the prejudice and discrimination which they experience in their everyday lives. For some of us on the Commission it was a new tern, a rather ugly term, and we were not sure how it would be received by the readers of our document. However, it is evident from the responses which we received that Islamophobia describes a real and growing phenomenon – an ugly word for an ugly reality. Hardly a day now goes by without references to Islamophobia in the media.
And deeper in the report –
A new word
In recent years a new word has gained currency which evokes the outlook and world-view of that [British merchant navy] officer. The word is ‘Islamophobia’. It was coined in the late 1980s, its first known use in print being in February 1991, in a periodical in the United States! The word is not ideal, but is recognisably similar to ‘xenophobia’ and ‘europhobia’, and is a useful shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Islam – and, therefore, to fear or dislike of all or most Muslims. Such dread and dislike have existed in western countries and cultures for several centuries. In the last twenty years; however, the dislike has become more explicit, more extreme and more dangerous. It is an ingredient of all sections of our media, and is prevalent in all sections of our society. Within Britain it means that Muslims are frequently excluded from the economic social and public life of the nation – not only from the submarines of the Royal Navy – and are frequently victims of discrimination and harassment.
So Runnymede had nothing to do with driving islamophobia into everyday usage. Nothing at all, nosireebob. Reality, as it usually does with these kinds of shenanigans, begs to differ.
Google, that most ugly of tools to derail social justice narratives, gives a much clearer picture –
The google web interface date range search is shitty at best and gives no hit count. These numbers were obtained using Julian dates in the search string. The first 3 results were gotten by scrolling to last page of search results, as hit count seemed stuck at a default value of 6800.
What we can see is that Runnymede is pretty truthy in claiming they weren’t the first to coin islamophobia – but we can also see, if you give your confirmation bias a time out, that the usage of the term prior to their report was very rare, very sporadic, by people that had bugger all to do with each other and that there was really no commonality of context in its usage.
Where islamophobia hit paydirt was 9/11 and the subsequent acts of insanity in the years that followed – it became the word du jour amongst hand-wringing sensitives and islam apologists and, call me insane and alarmist all you like, I doubt it would have gained anywhere near the traction it did were it not for Runnymede’s specific intent to make it so.
Not enough evidence? Ok, try this on for size. A follow-up report by Chris Allen – The ‘first’ decade of Islamophobia: 10 years of the Runnymede Trust report “Islamophobia: a challenge for us all” [PDF, 409kb] –
The ‘first’ decade of Islamophobia
October 2007 marks the tenth anniversary of the publication of the groundbreaking and possibly the most influential document of its kind, the highly influential Runnymede Trust report, Islamophobia: a challenge for us all. Produced by the Commission for British Muslims and Islamophobia, the report stated in its opening pages that, “Islamophobic discourse, sometimes blatant but frequently coded and subtle, is part of everyday life in modern Britain” It went on, “in the last twenty years…the dislike [of Islam and Muslims] has become more explicit, more extreme and more dangerous”. Who on the Commission at that time, given the events that have unfolded since the report’s publication would – or indeed could – have predicted the situation everyone is facing today?
Back in 1997, the report spoke of how ‘Islamophobia’ – “the shorthand way of referring to the dread or hatred of Islam – and, therefore, to fear or dislike all or most Muslims” – was necessitated by a new phenomenon that needed naming. Nowadays however, that same term is far from new where it is always seemingly lingering in the murky underbelly of our public and political spaces. Yet despite its wider usage, it remains questionable as to whether the debates concerning Islamophobia today and the way we use the term is any more informed than it was ten years ago. Increasingly the debates about Islamophobia sees one side pitted against an other, where claim and counter-claim, charge and counter-charge dictate what we know and how we voice ‘what is’ and ‘what is not’ Islamophobia.
Why then, despite the Runnymede report being so influential, are we still simplistic in the way that we speak about and understand Islamophobia? Why has Islamophobia failed to go away? With hindsight the answer, it seems, can be found in the Runnymede report itself.
At the heart of the report’s notion of Islamophobia was the recognition of what it set out as ‘closed’ and ‘open’ views. So important were these views that the report changed its definition of what Islamophobia was: soon after the preceding definition, the Runnymede Islamophobia became the recurring characteristic of closed views and nothing more. Conceived by the Commission, the closed views of Islamophobia were seeing Islam as monolithic and static; as ‘other’ and separate from the West; as inferior; as enemy; as manipulative; as discriminated against; as having its criticisms of the West rejected; and where Islamophobia was ultimately becoming increasingly natural. All of which are useful in being able to identify Islamophobia in certain given situations – for example in the media – but how for example might the closed views offer any explanation or even relevance in other equally important situations, in explaining how Muslims are discriminated against in the workplace, in education or in service provision for instance?
Uhuh – “a new phenomenon that needed naming”, “Conceived by the Commission”. If that’s not a confession of manufacturing the term, I don’t know what is.
Now take a few steps back in history. There is much documentation of social unrest from Chinese immigration – yet we have no sinophobia. With Irish – yet no gaelophobia. Italians – no italophobia. Greeks – no hellenophobia. True, there is antisemitism, but given the continuous atrocities and the body count, the term is actually justifiable. How many genocides have muslims been the targets of (apart from butchering each other)? None. But they have indulged in some themselves – ask an Armenian or a Darfuri. And not even at the height of McCarthyist hysteria was there a need for a -phobia term about communism.
So what is it that gave Runnymede their obsession with islamophobia? Why is one form of discrimination or hatred more sacred than another? Why all this effort to create an exceptionalist status for muslims where offences against them are somehow more important than anyone else?
Who knows? I gave up on trying to understand the idiocy of the pseudo-liberal, pseudo-humanist, pseudo-left when they came for me and the other godless. With the exception of communists, all of our other migrant streams have had one specific commonality – they never expressed the desire to obliterate western civilisation and impose medieval barbarity as the rule of law. Islam does, with monotonous regularity.
Whatever their motives, Runnymede have engaged in an exercise of social engineering and they don’t seem to care about consequences. They are largely responsible for the legitimisation of islamist maniacs and, conversely, the resurgence of the lunatic far right. Long musing on this here. They have entrenched islamophobia is a thought terminating cliche – the term serves no purpose other than to smear those labelled by it with a permanent black mark. It has become the equivalent of misogyny as used by 3rd wave feminists. Just look at how well islamophobia has been used against Sam Harris, and to a lesser extent, Dawkins. They have created a new, weaponised form of heresy and every citizen in the west is guilty until proven innocent. Thanks guys.
Bottom line, I think Runnymede Trust, and the slugs it panders to, can be summed up in one pithy bon mot –
They want to smile at the crocodile and hope they get eaten last.
1 – For those that need to brush up on this intellectual halitosis that is Critical Theory, here’s a short, nauseating slide show –
2 – Just consider this: the majority of people branded as “MRAs” by SJWs for the crime of “disagreeing” with official dogma had no idea what a MRA even was and needed to look it up.
3 – It’s also a registered charity – what is it charitable to? It’s also not very good at paperwork, hsve to wonder if it is still accepting tax exempt donations –